Resources: Compliance Updates

California Fair Employment and Housing Council Regulation - April 24, 2017

The California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC), a state agency that regulates California's employment and housing anti-discrimination laws, has published a regulation that addresses the use of criminal history in the hiring process. The new rules, known as the California Fair Employment and Housing regulation on Criminal History in Employment Decisions (the "Act"), are scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2017.

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California Amends Labor Code Law - October 26, 2016

On September 27, 2016, California Governor Gerry Brown signed AB No. 1843 which amends the labor code to prohibit most employers from considering certain juvenile records for employment purposes. Here are the highlights:

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Colorado Employment Verification Law Repealed - July 08, 2016

On June 8, 2016 Governor Jock Hickenlooper signed HB 16-1114. Previously Colorado employers were required to maintain a separate form in addition to the Federal I-9 requirements that they had examined documents to confirm that the person was authorized to work legally.

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Connecticut Bans the Box - June 23, 2016

On June 1st Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed bill House Bill NO. 5237 to “ban the box.” The new law will prohibit employers in Connecticut from asking on an initial job application if an applicant has a criminal record.

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Austin Ban the Box - April 11, 2016

As of April 4, 2016, Austin Texas has “banned the box.” The Austin City Council passed the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance, a new law that prevents employers from inquiring about an applicant’s background until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. Once an offer has been made, prior to taking adverse action, the employer must conduct an individualized assessment.

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Notice to Sterling Talent Solutions clients on EU-US Privacy Shield - March 29, 2016

The European Commission published details on February 29, 2016 of the new EU-US Privacy Shield. The Privacy Shield replaces the former Safe Harbor framework permitting transfers of personal data from the European Economic Area ("EEA") to registered US organizations.

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Philadelphia Ban the Box - January 04, 2016

On 12/15/15, Philadelphia Mayor Nutter signed Bill 150815 which amended the Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards. The new law makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for a City agency or private employer to inquire or require any person to disclose or reveal any criminal conviction during the license or employment application process until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.

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Portland Oregon Ban the Box - December 01, 2015

On 11/25/15, the Portland City council passed an ordinance to expand upon the ban the box requirements recently passed by the State of Oregon. The new ordinance in Portland applies to all employers for positions being performed a majority of the time within the city of Portland with 6 or more employees.

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Vermont Bans the Box - May 05, 2016

On May 3rd, 2016 Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed bill H. 261, to “ban the box.” The new law will prohibit employers in Vermont from asking on an initial job application if an applicant has a criminal record. The criminal record question can be asked at any time during the first interview or after the individual has been determined as qualified for the position.

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NYC Fair Chance Act - October 28, 2015

On June 29th 2015 Mayor di Blasio signed the NYC Fair Chance Act. This “Ban the Box” act makes it a discriminatory practice for employers or employment agencies to inquire into an individual’s arrest or conviction record or perform a criminal background check until an employer has extended a conditional offer of employment.

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BMW and EEOC Reach 1.6M Settlement - The Importance of “Individual Consideration” - October 26, 2015

On September 8th, 2015, a settlement was announced between BMW Manufacturing Company and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for 1.6M. The settlement was regarding allegations that BMW’s background check program through a new staffing contractor on existing workers at its Spartanburg, South Carolina production plant had a disparate impact on its African-American workers.

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NYC Credit Checks - September 09, 2015

On Wednesday May 6th Mayor de Blasio signed Intro No. 261-A, which amended the administrative code of New York City to prohibit most employers with four or more employees, from using credit information in hiring decisions. The amendment prohibits employers from using any information about an individual’s credit history or credit worthiness or information obtained from the individual regarding details about credit accounts, bankruptcies, judgement or liens. The law is stricter than other similar laws in other jurisdictions, restricting the types of positions in which an employer can obtain credit reports.

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Cross-Border Background Screening Programs: Are You in Compliance? - August 26, 2015

Do you operate a background screening program that spans both the United States and Canada? How well do you know the risks and realities on both sides of the border? For example, did you know that a major compliance risk in the United States today is based on technical non-compliance with consumer reporting laws, whereas one of the most significant risks in Canada is a complaint under privacy or human rights laws? Can you name the laws that apply to you, and the steps you need to take to mitigate compliance risks? Do you know what “ban the box” means? And do you know what differences to expect when looking at background check results in the two countries?

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Joseph R. Beau Biden III Child Protection Act - August 25, 2015

On August 11th Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed the Joseph R. Beau Biden III Child Protection Act. The new law strengthens background check requirements for employees, contractors and volunteers of child serving entities. The new law requires fingerprint background checks through the State Bureau of Identification and the FBI. It also requires employers to obtain a Child Protection Registry Check.

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Credit Checks For Employment Purposes - Understanding State Compliance Requirements - July 28, 2015

Credit checks have over the years gone from a standard service in employment screening packages to a position specific screening tool. It was not uncommon for companies to review credit histories for all job applicants being considered for hire. Since the early 2000s, the credit check has increasingly been used only for specific positions. In general, these positions tend to either be executive level or positions of fiduciary responsibility.

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Cook County Illinois Restricts the Use of Credit Reports - June 15, 2015

Effective 6/1/2015 Cook County Illinois enacted a bill that amended the Cook County Human Rights ordinance that restricts an employer’s use of credit reports for prospective or current employees. The ordinance affects all private employers or employment agencies that have their principle place of business or conducts business within Cook County.

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Nevada SB 409 - June 15, 2015

On 6/10/2015 Governor Sandal in Nevada signed Senate Bill 409. The reporting restrictions for Nevada previously prohibited the reporting of convictions over 7 years old. Convictions can now be reported without any restrictions. The bill does not affect the reporting of non-conviction records, which can only be reported for 7 years. This change is effective immediately.

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Establish and Follow a Background Screening Policy - May 27, 2015

In the event that a job applicant wants to legally challenge your background screening process or decision-making… are you properly prepared to defend your screening program? The answer to that question is likely the same as the answer to this question:

Do you have a background screening policy?

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New Jersey Bans the Box - March 03, 2015

Reminder: New Jersey Ban the Box became effective on March 1st,  2015. Read our original post on this new law here.  For more information on Ban the Box, watch our on-demand webinar: Ban the Box Legal Compliance in 2015, to better understand how Ban the Box laws affect your business.

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A Stamp Of Approval From FINRA - January 22, 2015

Last September, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) proposed a new rule that would improve the quality and depth of background checks performed by member firms when hiring new investment advisers. The proposed rule was granted accelerated approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 30, 2014.

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Prince George County, Maryland Bans the Box - December 12, 2014

Effective January 20th, 2015 Prince George’s County Maryland will be added to the list of jurisdictions that have banned the box.  The law prohibits any employer who employs 25 or more full time employees in Prince George’s County from asking on an employment application or prior to the conclusion of a first interview, if an applicant has an arrest or conviction history or performing a criminal history check on the individual.

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Columbia City Missouri Bans The Box - December 11, 2014

On December 1, 2014, the Columbia City Missouri council passed a new ordinance which bans the box for public and private employers.  The new ordinance is effective immediately and prohibits employers from asking on an employment application or otherwise inquiring in any manner, until after a conditional offer of employment has been made if the applicant has been arrested, charged with or convicted of a crime.

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PA House Bill 435 Background Checks for Employees and Volunteers - December 02, 2014

On October 22, 2014, Governor Tom Corbett signed House Bill No. 435 which strengthens the background checks for those volunteering and working with children. The new requirements include a state criminal history search, a child abuse history search and in some cases an FBI criminal history search.

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FTC Tips For Job Applicants and Employees - November 13, 2014

As reported in our prior news update, in March of this year, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released two joint publications, Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know and Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know.

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Montgomery County Maryland Bans the Box - November 13, 2014

Effective January 1, 2015, Montgomery County Maryland will prohibit employers from inquiring if an applicant has a criminal record or conduct a criminal background check until after the initial interview.

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Your Release of Liability May Cause Liability - November 10, 2014

Class action plaintiff attorneys have had recent success in bringing lawsuits against high profile companies for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirement that a job applicant receive a consumer report disclosure in a document that “consists solely of the disclosure”.   Many of these class action lawsuits surround the inclusion of “extraneous information”, such as a “release of liability”.  

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Connecticut Financial Institutions That Can Run Credit Checks For Employment Purposes - November 03, 2014

Effective October 1, 2014 Connecticut passed an amendment that expands the definition of financial institutions that can run credit checks for employment purposes.

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Two New Laws In Louisiana To Assist In The Hiring Of Ex-offenders - October 27, 2014

On August 1, 2014 two new laws took effect in Louisiana to assist in the hiring of ex-offenders.

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International Background Screening: Top 5 Risks for U.S. Organizations - October 08, 2014

When creating a new screening program at an international location, or exporting an existing one, organizations will quickly discover that whist some checks are perfectly acceptable in one jurisdiction, they may be irregular and sometimes illegal in another, thereby exposing organizations to increased scrutiny from national regulators, and potentially costly litigation.

Although tailoring any international background screening program to local requirements will take the efforts of HR, Legal and Compliance, below are the top 5 risks to guide in the decision-making process.

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An Applicant’s Event History- Why Must Criminal Records Be Viewed Differently? - September 10, 2014

For anyone who has applied for a job, there is an expectation that the prospective employer will want to learn as much about you as possible. The information gathered on a job applicant is an important part of the evaluation process. From the initial gathering of information from a job application, to the personal interview, to the background check, each stage of the process allows the employer to gather key information.

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District of Columbia Bans the Box - August 26, 2014

On August 22, the District of Columbia Mayor, Vincent Gray signed the Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014.  The act prohibits an employer, which is defined as any person, company, corporation, firm, labor organization or association, including the District government, but not including courts, that employ more than 10 employees in the District of Columbia, from making any inquiry into an applicant’s criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment.  It also limits the inquiry to convictions and pending cases.

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New Massachusetts Law Requires Fingerprint Background Checks - August 20, 2014

On August 5th, Massachusetts Governor Patrick signed an act requiring state and national fingerprint background checks for people working with those who have intellectual or developmental disabilities. The law covers any department licensed, approved, or funded program, including contracted agency vendor programs. The background checks will be required for those who will have unsupervised contact with persons with an intellectual or developmental disability in any department-approved program.

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New Jersey Signs the "Opportunity to Compete Act" - August 13, 2014

On August 11th, 2014, New Jersey Governor Christie signed “The Opportunity to Compete Act” which restricts an employer’s ability to make any inquiry whether verbal or written into an applicant’s criminal record during the initial application process.  The employer can inquire into an applicant’s criminal history after the initial interview.  However, if the applicant voluntarily makes a disclosure regarding their criminal history, the employer is permitted to discuss the record.

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You know what you know… but do you know what you don’t know? - August 05, 2014

Attention Background Check Program Manager:

After a background check is completed, what don’t you know? What you know is based upon the services that you have requested in a background check. With over 40,000 different sources of public record information in the US, it’s logistically and fiscally impractical to obtain information from every possible source.  There are federal courts, state repositories, county courts and municipal courts for criminal record information. There are state registries for sex offender, violent offenders, elderly abusers and child abusers. There are other databases that have debarment lists, malpractice claims and fraud histories. There are DMVs for motor vehicle records. Add in information from credit bureaus, educational institutions and previous employers and you have a seemingly endless number of sources for information.

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Illinois Bans the Box - July 22, 2014

On July 19, 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act. This law restricts an employer or employment agency from inquiring into, considering, or requiring the disclosure of a criminal record or criminal history of an applicant until the applicant has been determined to be qualified for the position and has been notified that they have been selected for an interview by the employer or employment agency, or if there is not an interview, until after a conditional offer of employment is made to the applicant.

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New Background Check Requirements for Rhode Island Firefighters - July 11, 2014

On 7/3/2014 Governor Lincoln D. Chafee, signed Rhode Island SB 2712 which requires firefighters in Rhode Island to undergo fingerprint based state and FBI background checks as a condition of employment. Applicants are responsible for the cost of the background check. After the background check is completed the fingerprints are required to be destroyed.

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Rhode Island Passes Background Check Bill - July 11, 2014

Rhode Island recently passed Senate Bill 2365. This act would require those persons who are contract employees of a private school or public school department, and certain individuals hired by a third party vendor who has contracted with the private school or public school department to provide services, to undergo a national criminal background check, prior to or within one week of employment at the school.

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New Georgia Law Limits Employers Liability for Hiring Workers with a Criminal History - July 09, 2014

Effective July 1st, 2014, Senate Bill 365 takes effect.  This law protects employers from negligent hiring and retention claims by creating a presumption of due care, when the individual hired has received a “Program and Treatment Completion Certificate” from the Department of Corrections or a pardon from the State Board of Pardons and Parole.

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Mississippi is Anti-"Ban the Box" - July 09, 2014

Effective July 1st, 2014, Senate Bill 2689 takes effect.  This law protects employers by prohibiting any law, ordinance, or rule that creates requirements, regulations, processes or prohibitions that in any way interfere with an  employers' ability to become fully informed about the background  of an employee or potential employee for the purpose of creating or maintaining a fair, secure, safe and productive workplace.

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For National Employers: It May Be Time to “Ban the Box” - July 07, 2014

The completion of a job application is the first important step in the background check process. Employers use the application to collect basic information from an applicant to begin their evaluation of that individual for employment. One historically important question that has frequently appeared on job applications: "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" The answer to that question may be viewed as one of the most important items of information on the application. Employment decisions have often been determined by the honesty and severity of any information provided in an applicant’s answer.

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Hawaii Enacts HB 2243 - July 07, 2014

On July 1, 2014, Hawaii enacted HB 2243 which allows qualified entities to request state and national fingerprint-based criminal history record checks on their applicants for employment, employees and volunteers who provide care for children, vulnerable adults, or individuals with disabilities and receive the results directly.  A qualified entity is defined as a business or organization which provides care or placement services, including a business that licenses or certifies others to provide care or placement services.

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Rochester NY Bans the Box - June 03, 2014

Recently the City of Rochester voted to Ban the box for public and private employers. The legislation prohibits most employers from conducting a criminal background check or otherwise inquiring into an applicant’s criminal record until after an initial interview.

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State Requirements for Conducting Background Checks on Home Health Agency Employees - June 02, 2014

Recently OIG released an evaluation regarding home health agencies’ (HHa’s) employment of individuals with criminal convictions. The purpose of the report was to identify State background check requirements for home health agencies’. 

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Baltimore Ban the Box Update - May 20, 2014

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake signed legislation to ban the box for private employers. This legislation prohibits certain employers from conducting a criminal background check or otherwise inquiring into an applicant’s criminal record until a conditional offer of employment has been made. 

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New San Francisco Ordinance Regulates Criminal Background Checks - February 26, 2014

The City and County of San Francisco, California, recently enacted a sweeping ordinance that limits requests for, and use of, criminal history records by employers, including city and county contractors and subcontractors. The ordinance will take effect in August 2014.

The ordinance prohibits employers from obtaining background reports or asking applicants or employees for criminal history information until after interviewing the applicant or extending a conditional offer. The ordinance also restricts the types of criminal history information that employers can consider, and requires an "individualized assessment" of such information

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